‘The man who shot my mother was not my father. He was not himself.’

Sierra Jefferson
Sierra Jefferson Courtesy Jerome Jefferson Jr.

A week before a Sierra Jefferson was shot at her workplace in Gulfport, she called police to come to her home.

Her husband, Jerome Jefferson Sr., had gone into a rage, said their 25-year-old son, Jerome “Rome” Jefferson Jr.

“She had the police on the phone and she asked me to grab my little brother and sister and get out,” Rome Jefferson said.

“Gulfport police pulled up to help us get out of there and to make sure he wasn’t going to do anything crazy.”

Sierra Jefferson, 42, was shot Monday. She died Thursday after she was removed from life-support equipment at a Mobile hospital. She would have celebrated her 43rd birthday Saturday.

Police upgraded her husband’s attempted-murder charge to first-degree murder on Friday.

Jerome Jefferson Sr., 47, is accused of shooting his wife behind Memorial Physicians Clinic on U.S. 49 in Acadian Plaza. It’s across the highway from Ashley Drive. He remains in custody on a $1 million bond.

Their eldest son had to make the decision to turn off life-support. Their other children are an 8-year-old boy, Ricco, and a 4-year-old girl, Elizabeth.

Illegal drugs, probably crack cocaine, got the best of Jerome Jefferson, his son said.

“My father is a nice man,” Rome Jefferson said. “The man who shot my mother was not my father. He was not himself.”

Sierra Jefferson worked two jobs to support her family. She was a medical assistant at the clinic and she worked at Ulta Beauty on Crossroads Parkway.

Rome Jefferson said his father has battled with drug problems for years, and has moved in and out of the house because his mother always hoped his father would do better.

The call to police came after an incident at the home.

“My dad was gone like two nights before,” Rome Jefferson said. “He was out doing what he was doing. He wasn’t doing right. When he came back, his mind wasn’t working right. He wasn’t making sense with what he was saying.”

He said his father became upset with his mother.

“She told him she couldn't afford to pay the house note and we were going to get evicted,” the son said.

“He got crazy, got mad. He flung stuff off the table and she said, ‘I can’t deal with this. We’re going to leave.’”

That’s when she called the police, he said.

Sierra Jefferson and her children went to a friend’s home to stay temporarily.

On Monday, Rome Jefferson had left the house with a friend. The people who live there later told them his father had come to the door, but they didn’t answer the door. He believes his father went from the house to the clinic to find his mother.

Police showed up at the house before Rome Jefferson returned home. He received a call telling him to go pick up his sister at daycare. And then he learned why.

“It’s like a bad dream,” he said. “I still can’t believe it’s happened.”

“My mother was happy with her family, with her kids and her jobs. But she couldn’t be all the way happy because she was always stressing. She was always stressing because of my father.”

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews